Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Smooth Moves

So it was one of those hectic on-the-go work weeks full of meetings out and about as we had an international guest over from Wednesday - Friday, which meant eating lunch out ALOT, LOTS of coffee and a couple big dinners thrown in too. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever eaten out so much in a work week. While the food we had wasn’t what I’d classify really “bad” like junk food, there was a lot of it and I certainly didn’t hold back.

Over the course of those three days we had poached eggs & fresh baguettes with several sides and shared a caramelised banana pancake dish, organic burgers with a side of fries and fresh juice, baked salmon with salad and homemade pavlova with fresh fruit for dessert, sushi and quinoa salad and a BIG 5 course Asian banquet on Friday night with wine to finish things off. In amongst all that there were many flat whites and cappuccinos. Being a foodie, I love eating out and trying different restaurants and meals so even though it was a lot heavier than my usual eating pattern, I certainly enjoyed it.

However, the problem with the nature of work weeks like these is with all the late dinners it can be pretty difficult to balance things out with exercise. Plus, by the end of such busy days, once you get home, you pretty much just want to shower and hit the sack. Generally you can’t summon the motivation to wake up early to squeeze in a workout because you want to catch up on sleep and reserve all your energy for the long day ahead. What’s more all the heavy food tends to make you feel more slugglish and unwilling to get into exercise gear.

Needless to say, by the end of the week I was feeling pretty tired, stuffed, heavy and lethargic. So when the weekend rolled around I was seeing green. Let me explain. After about 3 days of limited “fresh” food in the likes of salad, veges and fruit I begin to crave a whopping dose of Green Smoothie. Now if you’ve made a few rounds on the holistic health blog circuit I’m sure you would have by now come across these lil babies and probably even tried one out at home. They’ve become quite a trending topic of late.

It’s pretty simple:

Greens + Fruit + Supplements = A Whopping Dose of Rejuvenating Health Boosting Goodness

Sadly, mum seemed to have skipped the weekly markets run for our fresh food produce that weekend so the fridge was looking pretty bare, but I gathered what I could to create this:
Now, there are a lot of Green Smoothie recipes floating around the net. Arguably the most famous of these is Kim Snyder’s Glowing GreenSmoothie.

You can find her recipe here:

If you’re not familiar with Kim Snyder’s work, she is a celebrity nutritionist who quite frankly is adorable and lovely. She oozes happiness and has boundless enthusiasm for helping us regular folk make healthy food choices. While I don’t personally agree with all her food “rules”, I do subscribe to her overriding philosophy, being to focus on health and nourishing your body rather than following a diet to lose weight or stay a certain size/shape. In fact I think a major problem many girls/women have these days when it comes to eating is the incessant focus on diets and calorie counting rather than the quality of the food and what is NUTRITIOUS, NOURISHING and BEAUTIFYING to the body.

As Kim says on her blog, I don’t count calories, fat grams, or carbs- my system is different in that I look at the quality of the food, and not just in terms of what its nutritional content is, but also and very importantly, how it interacts, affects, and digests in the body. An avocado can have 400 calories and 14 grams of fat, but be much more slimming than the bag of soy chips, with 300 calories and 5 grams of fat, because the soy chips are mucus-forming and doesn’t digest as cleanly.”

Kim prescribes a daily Green Smoothie each morning for breakfast as part of her Beauty Detox Solution, a book I’d recommend getting your mitts on if you’re into health books and would like a bunch of easy vegan recipes on hand. She has certainly converted many of her followers to her way of eating. After reading Kim’s powerful argument on the wondrous health benefits of adopting this habit, I too decided to give it a go. However, I could never quite greet my morning smoothie with the same degree of enthusiasm as many of her other followers seemed to (according to the positive comments that crowd her blog).
Personally, I’m just not much of a smoothie for breakfast kinda gal. I prefer more of a “meal” type breakie like eggs, porridge, bircher muesli, and avocado or nut butter on toast. SO I just couldn’t get into it myself like many of her fans, but alas I do recognise the health benefits of them and try to incorporate them in my diet as much as possible. In fact, it works quite well as a quick light lunch or snack.

As I mentioned there are countless recipes for Green Smoothies saturating the net. I tend to be less prescriptive with my concoctions and just throw together whatever is fresh and in the fridge. Of course, use your common sense with the combinations – don’t just chuck it all in the blender and hope for the best or you might be in for a (green) shock.

In this batch I used cos lettuce, one carrot, a small red apple, one kiwi, half an avocado, juice of half a lemon, water and Super Greens powder.

Some tips for newbies:

·         Lime and lemon juice mask the “green” taste of the smoothie - I usually add the juice of half of either

·         Add as many greens as you can: cos lettuce, spinach, kale, sprouts, parsley, mint etc

·         Celery and cucumber are great additions for a lighter juice

·         Avocado and banana are great for a more creamy texture

·         Sweeten with fruit: apple, berries, banana, pear, etc but try to keep your ratio of greens higher to reduce the sugar content (fructose)

·         Add a “green” powder for a boost. I use Vital Greens or Swisse Super Greens. Note: some of these have a strong flavour, so be weary with the dosage.

·         Experiment and have fun!

My Method:

1.       Wash all greens in a big stainless steel bowl with water as well as fruit

2.       Peel all fruit and veggies on a plastic bag for easy clean up (leave skins on where possible as these contain a lot of the nutrients), chop up into chunks and chuck all ingredients back in the bowl

3.       Blend about a cup of cold water with your greens until smooth

4.       Add green powder if using and blend

5.       Add remaining fruit ingredients

6.       Add avocado/banana if using

7.       Add lemon/lime juice last

Some classic combos:

·         Carrot, apple, beetroot, ginger

·         Greens, apple, banana

·         Greens, berries, banana

Most Green Smoothie enthusiasts will champion the Vitamix as the King of blenders, but if you don’t happen to have one of these on hand, a regular blender will do you just fine. I use my mum’s Breville food processer.

So if you’ve had a heavy meal – or in my case a heavy week of meals I prescribe a BIG dose of Green Smoothie.  

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Work It

Tonight I stumbled upon some old photos I took over summer holidays in 2010 when I spent Jan/Feb completing a contract marketing position in the city while on uni break. As it was during this period that I had first discovered fashion blogs, I thought it might be fun to track my wares. I didn't quite manage everyday, but it was a admirable effort. Being my first fulltime office job, I relished the opportunity to wear something new to work every day. The workplace was a government department so the dress code wasn't too strict or corporate which allowed for a degree of experimentation. Although, I do recall the staff being quite amused when faced with two young girls (I had a work mate contracted in the same position) in a completely new outfit each day. After looking at some of these photos I can see why! In an office of mature-aged staff we certainly would have stood out. My friend and I also spent many lunch breaks browsing the shops in the city so we often came back with bags of more clothes/shoes/accessories. It was a fun job experience ;). 

Something that struck me during this little romp in my fashion past was how much more of an effort I made on a daily basis to mix my look up. I still play around with fashion, but I’ve noticed I’ve paired it back a lot. While my work environment is still relatively relaxed I’m more inclined to favour comfort these days. However this style flashback has inspired me to up my game and broaden my standard work attire. There are a lot of clothes in my closet that haven’t had much action due to my own laziness and a tendency to resort to the same reliable pieces. So this week I’m going to make a concerted effort slip into some new looks and incorporate some clothes I haven’t worn in a while.

Hope it makes work more fun :P.

Below is an overview of my fashion snaps over those 8 weeks. Please excuse any background mess!

If you've never snapped your outfits, I challenge you to try it for a week. It can be a lot of fun to look back on in a couple years time and a great memory to share with your future kids :). I know I love pouring over mum mum's old photo albulms!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

"I figure life’s a gift and I don’t intend on wasting it.”

Has anyone seen Titanic in 3D yet?  



My sister and I have always loved it so we set out Tuesday night to revisit the magical story of Jack and Rose, oh yeah and that ship that sunk. I have to admit that having seen the movie already a zillion times before coupled with the fact that the movie is pretty long, I thought I might get a tad bored at some bits, but I can honestly say that did not happen once! There were so many scenes I appreciated more on the big screen and emotions seemed to be intensified. I realised how young both Leo and Kate were in the movie and how breathtakingly gorgeous Kate was (still is!). I love how every character is just so perfectly cast. I also discovered some new lines that I had never noticed before which were super amusing. Watching the movie for the umpteenth time allowed me to truly appreciate the dialogue.

There were also a number of other thoughts that floated in my head while I watched. For one thing, I imagined living life completely carefree and untied to material possessions like Jack. I simply couldn’t imagine parting ways with all my beautiful things and living with no plans or any idea of where my future was heading. It is a romantic notion though. Never knowing where the next day might take you. While I don’t believe I could ever live my life in such a fashion it did get me super excited about my fast approaching 3-month Europe trip with my two best gal pals. Anticipating the experiences that are on the horizon and new people we’ll meet is rather thrilling. Meeting strangers and having unforgettable experiences just seems to be a given while travelling.

But back to the movie. Boy, things just seemed so glamorous back then. Can you envisage getting that dressed up every evening for dinner? It does seem like fun, but I imagine you would tire of the whole facade, much like Rose.  My mum has a friend in her 80s named Halina who had a really fortunate upbringing and lead a rather glamorous lifestyle travelling and mingling within high society akin to the high class assembly on the Titanic. The movie made me think of her, because much like Rose in her aged state, you wouldn’t guess her enchanting past by looking at her now.  It made me realise how we tend to dismiss “old” people as tame and arid when in truth they are likely the ones harbouring the most extraordinary and sensational of stories. I hope when I’m that age I’ll have some remarkable stories to tell.

I find older people infinitely fascinating and love listening to their stories. They don’t necessarily even have to be “old”, just older. My boss who is also now a close friend is about 50 and I never tire of hearing about her experiences. I think older generations can offer great perspective and advice. Sure, we’re all going to go through our own unique experiences and learn our own lessons along the way, but it certainly helps to have people around us with life experience that we can seek out when needed. Should you be interested, I’ve included a link below to an article I penned a couple years ago in my uni days which features Halina. Further below is a short profile piece I wrote on her, also for uni.

Anyway if you haven'y relived Titanic yet, I encourage you to do so.
“You never know what hand you’re gonna get dealt next. You learn to take life as it comes at you, to make each day count.”

Aging Stylishly

Love triangles, family aristocracy, exotic locations, experiences in war, dining and partying with the elite and very rich, starting all over again in a strange land; you could be forgiven for thinking the woman whose life involved and revolved around such common subplots was the heroine of your standard novel seized from the Family Saga library isle. But the story behind 84 year old Polish born Halina Tomaszewski, which could rival the most drama infused Danielle Steel Saga, is far from fiction.

Born to Kazimiera and Boleslaw Varnia Zarzecki on August 4th 1925 in Warsaw, Halina entered an exclusive society of power and affluence during a time in Poland when having money to splash was very rare.  Her childhood, while privileged and settled in a seemingly glamorous milieu, was largely spent in isolation. Being an only child with a busy, important father and a cold and apathetic mother, young Halina spent much of her time alone exploring the gardens, climbing trees and reading in the attic. Despite her father’s distance from the family home with a demanding position in the Polish Army, he and Halina enjoyed a close relationship. When he had time to spend with his daughter, they ventured outdoors on her father’s yacht and went swimming. This was an uncommon ability for a girl of her time to perform she informs me with a soft quaking voice, yielding to intermittent short breathes of air conditioned from a lifetime of cigarettes. 

Although her mother paid her little notice and lavished more attention on her beautiful and expensive garments and herself, Halina received female care and affection through the special bond she shared with her warm grandmother. She visited her on occasion at her large country property situated several hours from her family’s residence.  Halina recounted with a joyful demeanour the clothes her grandmother lovingly crafted for her in spite of her tomboyish tendencies. 

A state she shortly grew out off as she burst into womanhood. “We wore feathers, shimmy dresses, gloves, bracelets to dances and parties,” she exclaimed brightly of the period in which she embraced her femininity.  After the war the free spirited and adventurous young woman spent much of her time in the company of gypsies where she developed a predilection for “lots of bright colours and flowing fabrics”. A partiality I can still detect both from the visual feast that surrounds me - the cluttering of trinkets, sculptures, figures, works of art and other artefacts and relics accrued from extensive travel - as well as in the more personal details of her dress. For instance, the antique bohemian jewellery consisting of numerous elaborate silver and turquoise rings that adorn her fingers and the decorative oversized metal necklace that overwhelms her miniature 5-foot frame. With each animated and theatrical gasp she performs amid wide insistent eyes, before revealing another dramatic point from one of her life experiences my affection for this eccentric character grows. I hope when I reach my former years I retain just as much colour and creativity as the kind soul before me.